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Rad Ladies Who Draw Comics: Erika Moen


Moen at Stumptown Comics Fest

You don't have to look further than "Girl Fuck: An introduction to girl-on-girl lovin'" to see that Erika Moen is all about sex, and completely unafraid to talk about it. The 16-page zine is a starter course for those clueless in non-hetero girl sex, and includes some guidelines from Gender Bending 101. Her work is in the Best Erotic Comics of 2008 and her comic "Silver Bullet" was in the second True Porn Anthology, another erotic comics collection.


from Girl Fuck

But her work isn't all tits and wiggles (rhymes with shits and giggles? No? Okay). Her 2004 self-published "I like Girls" is Moen's intensely personal story on falling in love with a girl for the first time and the intimidating task of telling her family.

Besides coloring the content of many of her comics, Moen (in one of her daily comics) says, "'Lesbian' is my politics, my social sphere, my aesthetic, it's my identity," which is sometimes difficult to navigate when you wind up married to a man. Her popular web comic "DAR: A super secret girly top secret comic diary" (now in its sixth year) addresses her not-so-heteronormative lifestyle, artistic career, and gastro-intestinal intensities.

You can also check out her weekly webcast, the Erika Moen Show!

But she's not without controversy. While pulling images and facts for the post, I cam across some recent discussion on a recent DAR comic that has made some ripples in the trans blogsphere, and foreshadows some of the other recent conversations about trans fetishization.

The following comic might be triggering...

20090217trans.jpg

And a reaction cartoon, attributed to shemale, retrieved from nixwilliams:

As a white, straight-identified, able bodied feminist, I'm unsure of saying whether or not Moen was in the right or the wrong, or whether "show me your vadge" is immature, but as a comics reader, I am interested in the way that it inspired reactions through livejournal and blog posts, but through webcomic re-interpretation as well. What do you think on Moen's work and the reaction? How does it fit into the larger discussion about trans and cis women?

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Comments

61 comments have been made. Post a comment.

I've been reading Moen's

I've been reading Moen's work for a while, and I remember when she came out with that comic on her website. At first I was a bit appalled and my reaction was similar to shemale's.
However after some deliberation my view changed. Moen makes fun of herself in that comic, noting that she's just being "shallow". The thing is, as a queer and transperson, I do find transmen fascinating. I believe it has something to do with our biology. Gender is not binary but we seem to be programmed to believe it is. When someone is a transperson it can intrigue the mind, even turn it on. For the people who are trans it can seem insulting, like we're not thinking about how they feel about what gender or sex they fit into. But sometimes, even as a very politically correct queer, I get turned on by the mystery of the transfolk.

Anyways, I'm not sure if that made sense but I know what I mean. ;D

People

She wants to do the equivalent of a white person using the word 'nigger' in an edge context, one where it makes the audience a little nervous about the author's intention. That's kind of the point: "This is part of me, but I know it's wrong," is what it's supposed to say.

When someone calls her on that, she demonstrated ably what she actually thinks and feels about the topic: "The men with vadges are hot, but she knows she's not supposed to talk about them that way now, they're too sensitive."

I mustered a chuckle trying to read a few other strips; but, honestly? The question isn't the comedy. The question is the author, and the author's being transphobic in the larger sense -- "Now, now, you nasty trans people who don't like it! No more talking about this where Miss Moen's sensitive ears can hear it."

THIS. She may "know it's

THIS.

She may "know it's wrong" on a superficial level, but she's not made any real effort to be better. It's one thing to laugh at your "un-PC attributes" while you're at least working on bettering yourself -- it's something else entirely to laugh WITH those attributes because you don't care about those you hurt with them, despite knowing you will.

unlike racism, she's

unlike racism, she's professing an attraction to and acceptance of an edge culture who are usually treated like shit by the rest of the cultures in the world. god forbid somebody find you attractive for who you are and who you want to be instead of stoning you and cussing you out.

let's try a little experiment

The thing is, as a white person, I do find blacks fascinating. I believe it has something to do with our biology. Race is not discrete, but we seem to be programmed to believe it is. When someone is black, it can intrigue the mind, even turn it on. For people who are black it can seem insulting, like we're not thinking about how they feel about what social class they fit into. But sometimes, even as a very politically correct white, I get turned on by the mystery of the blacks.

I think the problem with

I think the problem with Moen's cartoon is that peripherally it looks like she is scoffing at the objections of the Transgender community to objectify them.

What can be understood with a little more context (reading more of Moen's work) is that this comic is half instructional (explaining to people who wouldn't otherwise know anything about transgendered people) and half inner-monologue. The transgendered person in panel five doesn't represent the transgendered community-- she hasn't literally had this conversation with anyone. He represents her guilt and sensitivity arguing with a personification of her sexuality. She isn't saying "I don't care," she's saying "I care, but I can't help it." Her inner conflict is embellished in panel six to provide a punchline.

I'm sure there are a lot of real and dangerous enemies to the transgendered community, which is why focusing on Erika Moen seems so trivial and unfortunate. Focus that energy on someone that deserves it!

breaking it down!

I agree with your reading of the strip, and definitely agree with focusing criticisms on larger trans issues than webcomics.

I was interested in the reaction to Moen's strip, since Bitch had a similar problem recently. Our Winter/Noir issue featured a comic by Jennifer Cruté that garnered a pretty strong backlash (see Noir issue pg.43, and consequently Buzz "Letters and Comments" pg.12), and left me sputtering about lack of comic-reading-know-how, a reaction that felt like a kind of worthless retort to something both personal and political to someone else. I see something similar happening with Moen's piece (plus the fetish issue popping up on other blogs after the fact was interesting).

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Not The Point

She's supposed to know better. Period. End of sentence.

She's contributing to the problem by making it okay for someone who should know better to treat us like objects. That's not okay.

Period. End of comment.

It's probably best to let

It's probably best to let the trans community decide what the important priorities of the trans community should be.

Obviously they will. I

Obviously they will. I doubt any communities are looking to consult my anonymous internet wisdom before they make a decision :)

I was just voicing my opinion. I'm sorry if it read as a command.

Thank you- that is exactly

Thank you- that is exactly how I read it and how anyone should perceive it.

I think the negative reactions are way overblown and many people are reading too much into this strip and extracting all these negative assumptions and complicated things out of it that are just *not* there. Instead of picking on someone who was honestly just trying to be funny and certainly didn't mean any harm... why not focus that energy on someone who is doing real harm to the transgender community and, more importantly, is doing it with intent to cause harm?

P.S. this is coming from a female-to-male crossdresser. :P

I love Erica Moen!

She and Dylan Meconis are two of my favorite webcomic artists! I wish I could have been in Portland to see them both. I agree that Erika often dives straight into controversy, and I don't always agree with her take on things. However, she brings up truly interesting questions, and doesn't seem to shy away from people challenging her on her conclusions.

The trans comic is pretty un-nuanced when seen in isolation, and it makes a lot more sense (to me) when read in the context of her other work. Because webcomics are very often seen as stand-alone pieces, it's completely valid to evaluate it on its own merits, and I think that it could have benefited a lot from more introspection. Choosing to have a shallow comic about a very under-discussed phenomenon is a privileged decision, and I was glad that people called her out on it. At the same time, increasing the discussion about trans issues is a very, very good thing, and the comic wasn't a departure for her - she makes people think, which is laudable.

It's a diary.

I don't think it's entirely fair to criticize someone for their diary. That strip seems tongue-in-cheek to me, and it isn't as though she's put it forward as anything other than a peek inside her head. What disappoints me is that the people who made a fuss about it make it seem like people in the trans community don't have senses of humor-- a problem stereotype feminists are certainly familiar with. Good for Moen for being able to laugh at herself and for inviting the world to join her!

Senses of humor?

Wow, I totally didn't realize that it was the audience's job to find the comedian funny, instead of the comedian's job to make jokes or humor that appealed to the audience. I always just thought a sense of humor was a funny person's ability to appeal and track what the audience wants. But I must clearly be wrong.

I guess that explains why every time I go to see a comedy show, I get paid for going.

...wait

Thank you Bitch, for making

Thank you Bitch, for making me aware of Erika Moen!! I spent the past hour and half reading DAR. I can completely relate to her and it's so hard to find people in my neck of the woods to relate to. She is witty, sincere and hilarious! I was able to laugh at my insecurities which revolve around my sexual hang ups through her wonderful comics. She gave me hope on being a sexually fluid, happy human being who can take life in stride with a spoonful of sugar and a flatulent release. I too am completely turned on by transgendered people. It is not some fetish or taboo desire, it is b/c of their strength and courage to live life free of social constraints. We should all lighten up and laugh at ourselves and our desires. After all, it's this business of "seriousness" that got us putting everyone into neat little (self-destructive) boxes in the first place. Cheers to you Lady Moen!!

Why some trans people might assume the worse...

Admittedly, I only saw the original out of context, but personally I read the original as a tongue-in-cheek critique the trans fetishization that goes on. (Out of context, it's not clear if the protagonist is meant to be the author or a character the author created.) But -- particularly when seen just on it's own -- I can also see how it can be read as dismissing objections about being objectified.

Yes there are people devoid of humor of all stripes (including trans people and feminists), but dismissing people who objected to the cartoon as humorless and not focusing on the real enemies strikes me as being unwilling to take the time to listen and try to understand why some people might've found the piece problematic. (And might I note accusations of being "humorless" is something that's been used to silence feminists...)

Because there's another context going on -- trans people are being routinely silenced in a number of feminist spaces.

Such as when BitchPhd cracks a tranny "joke" and then tells people to lighten up and STFU. Or how even here we're being told "don't get your panties in a twist, it's only a joke."

Such as the spate of problems that prompted some trans bloggers to boycott Feministing and Feministe.* From routinely derailing trans topics with "stop the conversation until you trans people spoon feed me Trans 101 that I can't be bother to try to figure out from context or try to look up;" to derailing trans topics by "I know the original post was about trans rights legislation but I want to talk about how uncomfortable I am with sharing bathrooms with men;" to derailing by "I want to talk about how trans issues affect me, me, me;" to "Sure I started by mentioning a trans issue, but really I'm just using it to talk about how gender affects cisgender people."

Such as implicit/explicit presumptions gender essentialism (i.e. trans people are, and always will be, "really" their birth gender) by some feminists. Or that trans people are just "tools of the gender binary" -- an accusation that gets aimed at trans women way more than trans men BTW. Or that "I'm going to ignore their lived experiences because it gets in the way of my theories." To outright transphobic attacks. All of which in particular seem to come from folks who self-identify themselves as rad fems.

Such as how posts about Seth Rogen can attract hordes "that's horrible" comments, but posts about trans women getting killed in hate crimes are met by crickets chirping.

Given all that, I hope people can see why the piece could be seen as expressing privilege, not critiquing it. It may be a misreading of it, but frankly there's a lot of raw nerves among my peeps because of the things I've mentioned. Made worse by the feeling that a number of feminists aren't willing to do more than give lip service to us or our issues -- in part precisely because it would require them to do "WAY too much introspection on my part." Which can make some people (rightly or wrongly) inclined to assume the worst.

* To their credit, both sites are trying to address these issues, even if I don't think they've done so particularly successfully yet.

Doh!

FYI, I wasn't intending to reply to J -Tango -- I clicked the wrong link.

thank you

This was a really insightful reply. It was saddening to see a 'why can't X people take a joke' in this of all places... where part of the work in feminist is to see the roots of such humor, and listen to those voicing hurt/silencing/oppression. Framing it as 'the person voicing discontent is humorless' is an old anti-feminist trope and has no home (I would hope) in spaces such as this.

IAWTC

Echo that.

Buuuuuhhhh .... what? Being

Buuuuuhhhh .... what?

Being trans has nothing to do with wanting to live a life free of social constraints. It has nothing to do with courage or inner strength or sticking it to the man or any of the crap that you're fetishizing.

Because, like being gay, or being a person of color, or being a woman, being trans is not a choice. Go ahead and fetishize those qualities in people who actually demonstrate them (and sure, lots of transpeople do, but so do lots of cispeople) rather than expecting those qualities to be there in this magic transperson you've constructed in your head as a person who has chosen to rebel against society, or whatever. Lesbians don't consciously make the choice to only love other women to stick it to a heteronormative society. Women don't consciously make a choice to be born with vaginas to stick it to the man. So why the hell would you assume that transpeople just trying to live their lives is automatically a big 'fuck you' to gender normativity?

Uh, Did You Read The Strip?

Do you see a mention about strength and courage in the comic? Seriously? Where? Is that what "ridiculously hot" means now? WTF?

This isn't about why you like trans people or whether it's creepy or whatever. (And, honestly? My jury's still out. Saying one positive statement doesn't magically absolve someone of the term Chaser. If that's the first thing I know about you, you go in that category until you prove you're not actually a Chaser.)

..........

"I too am completely turned on by transgendered people. It is not some fetish or taboo desire, it is b/c of their strength and courage to live life free of social constraints. We should all lighten up and laugh at ourselves and our desires."

UGH wtf, wow, really?

That is a complete fetishization of a group(s) of people(s) - by rendering a very expansive/diverse demographic into a wide-sweeping "I am completely turned on" by [x] group is CLASSIC exotification by a powerful/privileged group against a marginalized one.

"live life free of social constraints"?

What does that even mean? Trans people are not some population(s) of people(s) who are just transgressive and so progressive for being who they inherently are - trans people (women of color overwhelmingly) are slaughtered for (attempting) to be who they are by OUR (cissexist/misogynistic/oppressive/racist, I could keep going) 'social constraints' routinely. What about that constant threat is sexualizable? What about that constant threat is a symbol of self-liberation? I am sick of cis feminists / and other cis people 'into theory' hijacking someones identity from our position of power as something to idolize with wide-eyed glee and spend hours theorizing over. I'm impressed by people that overcome substantial life adversities, who isn't, but if you sexualize that ability to overcome (or HAVING to overcome) - and sexualize that based entirely on their bodies and one element of their identity, guess what? then you're objectifying/fetishing, and there is nothing noble or progressive about either.

Additionally, I am sick of feminists purporting that their commitment to anti-oppression work or attempts to address their own cis privilege is found within their so-called 'adoration' (or just to get to the heart of it, sexualization and objectification) of trans people. That is further alienating to the communities who our feminism is supposed to be working with, working for, and supporting the general goals of.

To more address the author of this article:

I'm tired of this shit. Saying some transphobic ("but my husband is trans!") comic is 'rad' but then asking 'so, what does this mean?' and allowing comments about 'omgz trans ppl are so hot' to be said unaddressed by the author and others that more routinely follow this blog (I don't and most of the people responding to this comment I don't think do either). What does THAT mean(#1)?

(#2) What does THAT mean: "How does it fit into the larger discussion about trans and cis women? ": Uh, this comic strip is not about trans women. And what larger discussion are you referring to? Cissexism? Transphobia? Objectification? Asking if/how queer women can be chasers too? Discussing lesbian-identified cis women that seem so hysterically attached to their dyke cred that they offensively rework/rename their relationships with men as being somehow inherently different so it doesn't count as a strike against their 'gold star' status?

Why not just say that?

What does THAT even mean (#3) to write 'As a white, straight-identified, able bodied feminist, I'm unsure of saying whether or not Moen was in the right or the wrong *blink blink*', .........when are you supposed to have some kind of agency to called something fucked up is FUCKED UP? Wouldn't being a feminist be precisely WHY you would have something to say about this comic? To get to the heart of it Kjerstin, you don't even say if you're cis or not but list all of these other privileges you're the beneficiary of THAT ALSO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COMIC. Suddenly possessing various privileges precludes us from calling other people on theirs? Possessing and naming our privileges allows us to be oh-so-vague about talking about how we and others are being oppressive?

Who knew anti-oppression work (ex. feminism) was so easy?

Ugh

By including Erik Moen in your spotlight of rad comic artists, you *are* critiquing her work by condoning this comic. Simultaneously, by telling people there may be a trigger warning and then apparently retreating from having an opinion on this comic - what is the trigger warning then? Do you know why you are even warning trans people about it being trigger inducing? Do you even know or did you see someone on LJ say it was triggering and just put it up to make it seem like you get it? Or are you saying that shemale's take (which is a real example of satire) on Moen's comic is triggering?

I thought feminism was about calling on/dismantling oppression and challenging our own privilege/bullshit/participation in the oppression of others within our communities? Not using it as some smoke screen against controversy.

'Feminist response to pop culture'? Where is the response? I'm tired of this shit feminist blogs, it seems like every other day we just put a mirror to our own transphobia as cis 'feminists' and the result is always explosive and we never seem to produce any meaningful lessons learned. If there is an explosion so often, guess what, the problem is within us and not those criticizing us.

That particular comic is fucked up. There is nothing self-satirical about it - for something to be satire, it has be somewhat obvious, informed ('born' anatomically male?), and oh I don't know - funny? Why that is not clear to some is vile and above all embarrassing.

Trying to rationalise your

Trying to rationalise your own fetish doesn't make it somehow not a fetish.

oh hey

What I found interesting was Moen's reaction to the criticism she received following the posting of that last webcomic. If she were really interested in making a "tongue-in-cheek critique of the fetishization of trans men" rather than her pronouncing "fuck 'em, I'm a chaser and proud of it," I would imagine that she'd be willing to listen to the feedback from the trans men whose fetishization she's presuming to comment upon.

Instead, after receiving negative criticism for her comic, she deleted everything that had been said about it in her entry, disabled comments, and pretended like it never happened.

Now, the way that I, and many other trans people who saw that comic, interpreted it was as "hipster satire:" it acknowledges that fetishizing trans men is something the author does, but doesn't delve into the ways that it might be problematic, shows no intent to even think about stopping, changing, or encouraging others to stop doing it, and completely disregards the criticism received by members of the group which bears the cost of that fetishization.

Erika Moen's still a chaser (and she's still not funny or insightful you guys)

haha whoops

Didn't mean to double-post that.

Additionally, I'd just like to point out that it's fucking ridiculous how many people here are just so convinced that the only reason Erika Moen's trans critics aren't completely enamored with her is because they aren't insightful enough to have grasped how great the comic was in the context of her other posts, or that they just didn't get the self-effacing tongue-in-cheek humor, or that it's "not fair" to have a negative response because it was in her journal, and that trans people just need to ~lighten up~ and get a sense of humor (which, by the way, we have, we're just using it to laugh at Moen instead of with her).

How condescending.

I think many of the

I think many of the commenters here need to read Nezua's Wite Magik Attax and Derailing for Dummies and then apply what is said to trans-objectification/dehumanization.

Seriously, "you're reading too much into this", "can't you take a joke? Have you no humor?", & "you're just oversensitive, lighten up!" come up practically everytime a privileged person refuses to be held accountable for whatever busted thing they just said/did. It isn't cute, original, smart, or endearing.
Now I just have to wait for Shemale & the rest of us to be called angry/intimidating & we'll have a whole bingo.

Also

"How does it fit into the larger discussion about trans and cis women? "

"The larger discussion about trans women and cis women?"

What the fuck does that even mean?

And why does that web comic bring that to mind for you when it was about a cis dyke-identified chaser of trans men?

yep...

sorry, I wrote that last bit hastily, but I think my intended point was too general anyway. I actually didn't have the comic on my mind when I said that, but the Feministing bathroom post (i.e. the other blog discussions I cast my net widely to incorporate), which centered on the disconnect between cis women and trans women. I should've read that over and realized it didn't make sense.

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Ah, okay. You know, a few

Ah, okay.

You know, a few people who've seen this have asked, and i'm curious too:
What is it about my reaction comic that incites nothing but the response "it may not be my place to say whether or not 'show me your vadge' is immature..." where countless jokes revolving around talk of "fucking chicks," the words "pussy" and "cunt," douching, earwax, burps and rancid farts, being the "special ed" of marriage (because that's totes not ableist or anything), and so on earn a "she's so rad!" from you?

i was wondering that myself.

i was wondering that myself. no, wait. never mind >.<

In a similar vein...

It's also interesting that this was tagged under "Lesbianism" when it's about a woman who is interested in men.
Because that certainly isn't the definition of lesbian I learned!

If anyone wants to see a

If anyone wants to see a great post about ~why~ it is busted to objectify trans people (specifically men who are trans) then you should see what Sarah (and the commenters) wrote.
I would also recommend Nix's original post for a look at some of the fucked up bits of this comic.
There is also the wonderful google for anything else or any trans 101 questions anyone might have.

Proof Of The Pudding

If the comic was really about how the author felt bad about this and realized it was objectification, one could logically assume that, when called on that by trans people, they would respond with a thoughtful response.

And when some trans people responded positively to being called hot because they have the self-esteem of any oppressed, crapped-on group in humanity, they would not have said, "Gee, Really? Are You Sure? I Thought It Might Be Offensive!"

And then respond to trans people who HAVE a problem with it a few comments later, going "Hey, Lay Off! Some Of My Trans Friends Were Cool With It!"

And then, y'know, ripping down comments for that entry, then offering a cookie-cutter response to the people angry enough to post comments on other entries, then deleting their comments too.

It's more important to her that the PAIN STOP OH HEAVENS THE PAIN of being called on cis priv, instead of doing what could be seen as the graceful, even classy thing to do -- APOLOGIZE for doing something thoughtless and inconsiderate towards people she pretends to respect but fetishizes on a deep level.

Of course, this is only the opinion of a trans woman; I can't begin to imagine what the hell she thinks about my side of the trans spectrum.

I was one of the commenters

I was one of the commenters who erika moen silenced on her livejournal entry featuring this comic.

I am a transsexual man--I am not some sort of super sexy dude (but not "real" dude HUR HUR HUR) with a "secret"--the secret being a "female body".
I don't have a female body. I have a male body.
Until cis people are going to understand that trans people are the genders and sexes we say we are, they aren't going to get cut an inch of slack for this silly hipster arch bullshit. She said something which fits right into the cissexist majority--she told me with this comic that she knows better than I do about my own body. That's gross, and that's definitely not feminist.
I'm going to leave it here. Don't try to play "cis person knows best"--that's just an insult to my intelligence.

wonderful

another chapter in CisFail'09. well done, Kjerstin.

uncool, guys

BitchMag, I love you with all my heart and soul, and Erika Moen does have a really appealing cartooning style, but that comic strip... while she is being honest about herself, and it is a diary, this isn't just pure-indie-comix-unfiltered-day-in-the-life scribble in that strip. It's constructed, it has a punch line, and it ends with her being completely dismissive regarding her own privilege, her view of trans people, how it might affect any transfolk she comes into contact with... That's really uncool. I get that she's making fun of herself, but I don't think that last panel was the way to go. Why did a strip about something this heavy have to end with a punchline that flippant? Why couldn't it end with, "I still think this, and I know it's fucked up, but I can't bring myself to stop -- maybe someday"? That would at least be a step up (maybe; I'm cis, it's very well that transfolk would NOT find it even half a step up, I don't know.)

Maybe if the thing had been scribbly unfiltered emotional vomit, I'd be able to go, "Well, she feels what she feels, even if I think it's fucked up," but the fact that she clearly wanted it to fit a certain pattern, with a punchline, actually makes it worse to me.

Also, I want to second the commenter that said that this thread is hitting the Bingo card with alarming frequency. If this was a dude writing a comic strip about feminists, I don't think people would be so quick to go, "Well, but, in *context*..." and "It's clearly tongue-in-cheek!"

I think this is the same artist who put her awakening to her own racism in comic form, right? (I found that kind of embarrassing, to be honest.) I remember (perhaps incorrectly) that that piece had a lot more guilt and ambivalence. I'm not sure why the trans fetishizing doesn't get the same guilt and ambivalence and open-endedness.

I do think she's a talented artist and I would like to check out more of her work, but this strip has some skanky issues.

Thanks

Thank you for getting it, soveryunhip.

As a further criticism, she didn't even draw a trans man -- she drew a woman in drag. Note the full hips, narrow shoulders, and long legs -- this is a very "feminine" body type, insomuch as it's typically seen as the "opposite" of the broad-shoulders-narrow-hips-stocky-limbs "Gladiator" or "He-Man" body type. Her "transformation" panel displays "cute perky" breasts -- not the mangled, flattened, saggy chest that even trans men who previously wore a B-cup have after even 4-6 months of heavy-duty binding. A noted majority of trans men actively work at hiding these features (and that's only really those who are narrow-shouldered-and-broad-hipped, to begin with), so yeah, it's kind of a insult to see a creepy-chaser comic where these points are actively emphasised in a manner that makes it seem abundantly clear that she thinks of us as "hot butches playing make-believe-boy". The language of the strip confirms it -- "so they can pass as men": if she really considered trans men to be another kind of man (rather than "another kind of woman", as she apparently does), she'd phrase that any one of several different ways.

If this were a comic about how Asian women are hotter cos they's all cutesy and submissive, or how Latin Amerikan women have super-sexy curves and hot firecracker personalities -- I have no doubt that even the whitest cis women here making excuses for Moen would call bullshit.

What really adds insult to injury here, is there's a panel of GIRLFUCK, where she apparently validates trans women as another kind of woman (or girl, I suppose). Her unapologetic admission of chaserhood in this strip implies that the GIRLFUCK panel was either a simple payment of lip-service, or that she's adopted the peculiar position of believing "trans women = woman; trans men = women". I hate to admit it, but I'm not unfamiliar with that position -- even trans woman Kate Bornstein has practically advocated that position in her open validation of "butch flight" ramblings as "analysis" that "voices [her own] thoughs/concerns". I'd almost rather Moen was just paying lip-service in GIRLFUCK -- but mainly cos then it's not just my identity she's invalidating when she draws a strip that calls trans men another kind of woman.

Comic

Maybe I'm missing a major issue, but I feel like its perfectly fine to be attracted to specifically trans-men and not biological men. Gender ambiguity can be very attractive, and many cultures, Ex. Japan, have always had a liking for it. Maybe it is a little of exoticism, but it could also be a more specific choice. I think what's important in these issues can only be judged on a case by case basis; if someone in the relationship is assigning a gender to the their partner, one that is not wanted, that's inappropriate. But it's also not wrong to be aware of someone's unique gender position and appreciate them for that. Again, it's about understanding your partners needs, and understanding people whom you are projecting flirtations on (if you're wanting them in unwanted ways, respect that.) The latter, the flirtations, is what this comic is making fun of, clearly poking fun at herself and in it's irony that she acknowledges this respect.

I dunno, let her have what she likes, as long as she's respectful, and her comic implies she is.

Except many trans men are

Except many trans men are not ambiguously gendered & many trans men identify as biological men (what else would we be? cyborg-men?).
You (and Erika and all other chasers) are projecting an incorrect, often offensive to many, exotified image onto an oppressed group.

Her comic implies she's respectful? Did you read the comic?
The male character specifically said 'stop this' and Erika said "Maybe I wouldn't objectify you guys if you weren't so ridiculously hot!".
Now, imagine a cis guy walks up to a woman (cis or trans) and tells her how much he wants to do her because she is [Asian, has big boobs, a lesbian, etc]. When she says "no, stop exotifying me, I'm not here for your pleasure", he says "well, you're asking for it by being so hot/dressing like that!!!!!!"
How is this different?
Pro-tip: It's really not.

Oh, this.

Oh, this.

I'm trying to wrap my head

I'm trying to wrap my head around this because I somewhat identified with what the original comic said, but I recognise that it's upsetting, so I'm looking for a better way to express my feelings without jamming my foot too far down my throat.

I find certain kinds of androgyny sexy. It has nothing to do with transmen/women. Many of them probably would not have those particular qualities, and many people who do have those qualities probably do not identify as trans. I don't really know WHY I find certain kinds of androgyny hot, other than a schoolgirl crush on kd lang having a strong influence on my formative years. I also like to see beautiful boys in beautiful dresses.

You are completely missing the point...

Trans men are men. There is nothing "gender ambiguous" about any of the trans men I know. My gender is male.
There is, in reality, little to no difference between the majority of trans men I know and non-trans men.
I do not have a "unique gender position". I have a chronic medical problem that I have to treat with shots.
If any my partners said anything like you are on this thread, it would not seem like they where understanding my needs at all, or that they were respecting me.

Saying that I am something other than a man is horrifically offensive....
Saying that I am hot because I have medical condition that needs to be treated for the rest of my life is beyond the pale to me.

"unique gender

"unique gender position"
"maybe it is a little of exoticism, but-"
"let her have what she likes. as long as she is respectful

Just a Little Bit . . .

. . . . How is someone being respectful when all they are attracted to is a dude's genitals?

Nevermind that he has a great personality, wit, well read, whatever. Nope. If he has a "bio penis", he's not hot. But if he has a cunt, then he's EXOTIC and DIFFERENT and HOT.

Please. That's no better than the guys who catcall women and use lewd and objectifying language on them.

But oh, wait, a lesbian woman is doing this objectification and catcalling. So it must be a-ok, to allow women to behave in a manner that would be found appalling were she a man.

Nope.

Respectful?

What definition of 'respect' are you using, that seems to simply include making someone the butt of a joke about yourself, then ignoring negative responses to that?

I consider that the opposite of respect. More like thinly veiled disgust at worst, and simple objectification at best.

Using the term "biological

Using the term "biological men" to refer to cismen is misleading and disingenuous; I'm a transman, but I'm also "biological." I have to eat, sleep, and poop, just like any other guy. Moreover, my innate sense of being a man is, as far as anyone knows, no less biological than that of any other guy, because brains are biological.

In any case, your comment reveals the problem with Moen's comic: when she says she's attracted to transmen, she really means she's attracted to young, slender, hairless, white, able-bodied, androgynous transmen. A lot of us are kind of fat and hairy and smelly and probably not likely to get a date with her. It would have been nicer if she had written what she meant. If you still doubt that transmen are no more likely to be "gender-ambiguous" than anyone else, check out the photos at:
http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TSsuccesses/TransMen.html

You have a real sick idea of

You have a real sick idea of what "respectful" looks like, if you think "I'M GOING TO OBJECTIFY YOU ALL I LIKE!! LALALALALA!!! I'MN NOT LIIIIIISTEEEEEENIIING!!!!!!" is a sign of "respect".

Your "feminism" fails, Chaser.

Uh, No.

The original trans comi by Moen is creepy and disgusting.

Trans men generally pass exceedingly well. There is very little chance that Moen, or any other creepy fetishizing tranny chaser, would know if a trans man was in fact, a transman. They would perceive a cisgender (non) trans man, more than likely.

Sorry. We're not magically androgynous or the lesbian safe alternative to dating cis-men. We're pretty much men, and like men, we occupy a whole spectrum of sexuality and gender which doesn't necessarily have much to do with our birth biology or our assigned gender/sex at birth. And to be quite frank, plenty of trans men I have known are sexist jerks - just like their non trans brothers - and I imagine Moen wouldn't give them a second thought either. Unless, of course, she wouldn't mind having objectifying frat-boy like jokes made by guys wanting her to make out with another girl for their pleasure.

When you know the signs...

To say that a tranny chaser has little chance of recognizing a transman is to ignore that MANY and perhaps even most transguys have obvious physical signifiers of their female biological origin: short stature, small hands and feet, little to no Adam's apple, and voices that have a noticeable "buzz." There can be other clues in the skeletal frame. A discerning viewer can also pick up on subtle body language cues and the like.

This is not to say that a sensitive (or ultra-macho) guy with big hips and small hands is obviously a transman. Or that a short man with a buzzy tenor voice who uses his hands to gesture in a certain way is a transman. But an educated tranny chaser, or anyone else for that matter, can pull together a concatenation of clues and draw a reasonable conclusion--and, I suspect, be very often right.

Some of us transmen worry that as the general population becomes more aware of trans issues, we who formerly "passed" so well will find it harder and harder to do so precisely because there ARE obvious signifiers that tend to out us to people in the know.

"signifiers of their female

"signifiers of their female biological origin: short stature, small hands and feet, little to no Adam's apple, and voices that have a noticeable "buzz.""

you're only assuming those are signifiers of transness (and female biological origin seems like a super offensive way of saying someone in trans). it's like my buddy who claims to -always- know when a person is trans. but he doesn't know because any trans person who doesn't fit into whatever he thinks trans people are like don't get recognized as trans, and people who do fit into his prejudiced view are sometimes not trans. but it's not like he asks everyone he meets, so how does he know he knows? he doesn't. he sometimes recognizes people as trans. that's it, end of story.

cis men come in -every- shape and size and so do trans men. my cis fiance is 5' 3'' and his feet and hands are smaller than my cis womanly ones. he is frequently mistaken for a woman because of his size and long hair. (though he is not mistaken publicly as a trans man) i know you've allowed for this in your post, but you are positing it as an exception or something that wouldn't make it past your super special tranny chaser sensors. has it occured to you that perhaps you are really just attracted to a certain physical type of man?

rebuttal to al oof

Off the top of my head, I couldn't think of a better way of stating "female biological origin," but AS A TRANSMAN MYSELF, I do not find that phrase particularly offensive. I am aware that other transguys might find it offensive, but much of my body is, alas, still typically female--skeletal frame, DNA, certain organs, etc. If you can find a better way of phrasing it, be my guest. I'm all ears (inherited those from my father).

Yes, I did allow for male variations in my HEAVILY QUALIFIED RESPONSE. I said that a bunch of clues put together by a trans-savvy person can result in a reasonably accurate identification--perhaps I should have said a reasonably accurate RATE of identification. I am nothing like your mate who claims to always be able to identify transpeople. Even though I am an "insider," I don't make that claim, and I never bloody have.

And your last sentence is out of line. You sarcastically refer to my "super special tranny chaser sensors." Personally, I don't care who is attracted to whom, but I AM NOT A TRANNY CHASER. I don't know where you came up with that one. I find it highly offensive that you assume that I'm a chaser. If you had read my original post more carefully, you would have seen that I never said word one about being attracted to other transpeople, whether male or female. In fact, I intentionally didn't say anything at all about who I'm attracted to. Don't put words (or anything else) into my mouth.

It seems to me that you responded to who/what you mistakenly thought I was, not to what I wrote. And that's on you, not me.

Sheesh.

you're right

i read your post wrong and i'm sorry i mistook you for a 'tranny chaser' and that i offended you. i do still think that it is dangerous to posit that a 'discerning viewer' can more often than not know whether someone is trans. but again i am sorry for misreading your post and responding overzealously to things you didn't say.

having a bad day

Thanks for the apology. I think I flew off the handle a little. I'm early in transition, and I guess I'm still learning how to handle my T--I do get ticked off more easily than I used to. I'm working on it.

I do get where you're coming from on my remarks about identifying transmen. There are lots of guys with many physical variations, and I for one might suspect that a guy is trans (or maybe intersex), but I would never assume that he is.

Sexual attraction sometimes seems like an enormously mysterious and complicated phenomenon to me. For the record, I don't care if people are attracted to trans folks, but I feel that the term (and category) "tranny chaser" is a pejorative for a reason because it denotes a fetishized attraction that is...genitocentric? Is there such a word? Anyway, in my experience, it is an attraction to the genitals and not the person--and, in my experience, the attraction is usually to pre-op or non-op genitals. (Hence the cartoon.) Some people might say it's an attraction to the genitals first and the person second. And some might say that I'm completely off base. Maybe I am, but I'm always willing to be educated.

+1

This is all true. Public awareness is a double-edged sword.

Still, I think the point is that "without any given man's medical record on hand, there is no 100% definitive reason to believe he may or may not be TS". It's not that there are no physical or social cues -- it's that there's nothing that even the best-educated chaser can say with absolute certainty is "proof" that the man she's fetishising is trans and not cis.

I don't see anything wrong

I don't see anything wrong with trans fetishization, but...why does it have to be considered a fetish? Acknowledging that sexuality isn't binary is a good thing. Saying sexuality IS binary is in the end biological essentialism. Yes, you CAN be a man and still have a vagina. You CAN be a woman and still have a penis. Being proud of your parts doesn't make you any less so, either. Sexuality is more than just attraction to sexual organs.

Wow, you suck. Did you read

Wow, you suck. Did you read any of the comics, comments, or the links?
Nice job at trying to imply us uppity trans* folk are essentialists & anti-sex.

Look what happens when you're honest.

My God. Does everyone have to express themselves in such a guarded manner as not to offend the perpetually offended?

How dare you suggest that

How dare you suggest that trans folk are easily offended! Who are you to tell us how offended we can get and at what?

Losing Game

"Less Privileged Than Thou" is a pointless game to play on the Internet. Vagina, penis, or intersexed genitalia; homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or asexual; trans-gendered, cis-gendered or non-gender-identified; nobody can win this contest. Internet access and literacy are absolute prerequisites to compete for "Least Privileged" on a Web site. Oops, that's two levels of privilege right there. We all lose to the people who aren't privileged to compete with us.

Many people agree that social interaction shouldn't be a rush to the top ("I'm the most privileged"). Some people forget that it shouldn't be a race to the bottom, either ("You're all more privileged than me"). If we can't find anything better to do with our time on the Web than to assign ranks to each other in a social hierarchy, then maybe we need to step away from the keyboard for a while.

I actually thought the last

I actually thought the last line was poking fun at straight men who say it's all right to sexually harass women because they dress provocatively, and twisting it around to show that it can happen to anyone, regardless of someone's identity or orientation.

Yes, she’s such a RAD LADY

Yes, she’s such a RAD LADY and her comics even more so. I was reading a related article at https://www.slixa.com/late-night/465-illustrator-erika-moen-shares-the-joy-of-sex where they dig deep into her as a person and as an artist. Her portfolio explodes with whimsical illustrations of lovers, real and imagined beasts, autobiographical series and lush vegetables. You gotta love a webcomic artist that incorporates Vegetables. :)